Money Laundering in Los Angeles
Each year the amount of money laundered worldwide extends into the billions. Because of this, both the U.S. federal government and international bodies of law take serious efforts to combat this white collar crime and apprehend money launderers. The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) is an intergovernmental entity created specifically to root out such crimes.
There are also countless federal agencies, including the IRS and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, that aggressively pursue and convict those suspected of laundering money. Financial and legal industries have also adopted unified anti-money laundering procedures (AML) in order to better regulate and detect money laundering activities.
Methods of Laundering Money
Simply put, money laundering is the process of obscuring the source of obtained money. Whether the money was legitimately earned or the product of illegal activity makes no difference. There are many laws against money laundering in general as well as laws pertaining to any specific techniques used or associated with the crime. Methods for money laundering typically involve three steps: placement, layering and integration.
Laundering "Dirty Money"
The most commonly associated concept with money laundering is that the money being concealed originates from unlawful acts. This is referred to as "dirty money," or any profits made during the course of any separate criminal activity. If your circumstance involves this type of money laundering you can also face additional criminal charges. The steps are typically conducted as follows:
- Illegitimate income is first discreetly introduced into a legitimate financial system. For example, this placement can occur when businesses are purchased or created. As a result, suspicious amounts of money become more difficult for the IRS to detect because there is a believable, and legal, source of income.
- Illicit funds are then mixed with actual profits. Businesses have documented financial transactions and must also pay taxes and this step, called layering, further camouflages illegal sources from potential audits.
- When illegal funds have been layered sufficiently, the "clean money" can then be introduced back into the economy. This final stage is known as integration and makes distinguishing legal and illegitimate funds incredibly difficult.
Even if you have not participated in a criminal activity that earns a profit, you can still be prosecuted for money laundering if you make certain attempts to conceal income. Often the motive for laundering legal income involves tax evasion and a federal court has the ability prosecute you for both tax fraud and money laundering. The most common form of this type of money laundering involves oversea bank accounts that go unreported to the U.S. government. There is also a significant chance that several other federal crimes were committed in the course of transferring money to offshore sources.
Do not wait until it is too late. Contact our firm today.
Do I Need a Los Angeles Money Laundering Attorney?
Given the global crackdown on money laundering, it becomes crucial to know your rights and how to defend yourself. Under 18 U.S.C. Section 1956, if you are alleged to have laundered money, in any form, you can suffer fines either up to $500,000 or twice the amount of money that was laundered, whichever is larger. You also face prison sentences of up to 20 years.
Offenses typically associated with money laundering, such as RICO, tax fraud, embezzlement or other federal charges, can also be charged in conjunction with money laundering and can significantly heighten punishments. It is also important to know that suspected money launderers are meticulously investigated by a variety of government and financial regulating forces. Intricate laws, hard-hitting law enforcement agencies and disastrous penalties call for the industrious legal advice our firm can offer.
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